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Advice Appreciated - Keep/Lease/Sell

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  • adelmo95
    started a topic Advice Appreciated - Keep/Lease/Sell

    Advice Appreciated - Keep/Lease/Sell

    I have been dealing with a bit of a dilemma for the past while now regarding my current horse, and I apologize in advance if my post gets long. My horse has turned out nicer than I ever dared to dream. Before buying him I had a bunch of resale projects that I successfully trained and sold in order to get the next horse and slowly worked my way up to my current one. When I bought him I bought him to keep long term as I was extremely tired of dealing with selling horses. I have had him 7 years now, got him as a yearling, did all of the training myself and truly ended up with a nicer horse than I could have hoped for when purchasing him as a yearling.

    My current dilemma is that with the stage I am at in my career I am feeling like he is almost going to waste with me keeping him. I have time to ride 4 days a week and he is going just as well with 4 days of work as he did with the 6 I was used to, but I don't have the time or really the desire to get him out to show. I know that horses don't care whether they are out showing, and that he is pretty content with his current lifestyle so I am not in a rush to make a change but I keep on feeling like he should be somewhere he can show an ambitious junior the ropes of showing.

    Am I insane for feeling like I shouldn't have a horse that has already been very successful in the 3'3 hunter divisions and is ready to step up to 3'6 and do more derbies because I don't have the time to get him out showing regularly? Would a lease seem like a good idea for a year or two in case I change my mind about showing? With leases how do you manage to vet the home the horse is going to? Would it be better to sell if the right situation came up, or do I just enjoy having a horse that I can jump on bareback in a halter and take for a trail ride around the property one day, school 3 tempi changes the next, and jump around a course the following day and to just appreciate that I wound up with a really nice horse?

    I know the reality is that if I sold him I would wind up taking in another horse that was either in need of an upgrade, or a youngster that shouldn't be doing too much work at the stage it is at in its life because I am not looking to get out of the horse world just genuinely feel like my current gelding is going to waste. I also admit that I feel like the sensible decision from a financial point would be to sell the horse that could pay off a decent portion of my mortgage rather than keep him to have some fun playing around with him.

    Has anyone been at a similar point with a horse? If you have been what have you done and did you feel after the fact that you made the right decision?

  • To the MAX
    replied
    Originally posted by kkgeorgio View Post
    Others have mentioned, but maybe consider a partial lease. There are tons of adult amateurs out there (myself included) who would love the opportunity to ride a nice horse, without paying an arm and a leg. I think it would be reasonable for you to charge $200-$400 a month for 2-3 rides a week. Then your horse gets more work, and you can offset some of your costs. If it is someone who wants to occasionally show-maybe that would be an opportunity where you split show fees and both do a few classes.

    Even if there isn't someone looking for a lease at your current stable, try posting online facebook groups or other places. I'm living somewhere for work, where I'm not connected to any specific barn and was willing to go wherever I found a good lease situation. I know there are others out there like myself!
    Me too! Want to share a horse?

    Seriously though, I agree 100% with this. There's TONS of decent riding ammies that would jump at this opportunity!

    Leave a comment:


  • Annabelle123
    replied
    Buying and bringing on young ones is always a bit of a gamble, but it sounds like you've got a special one here. Let me alleviate your guilt by telling you that your horse is absolutely not "going to waste". I promise you that he's not sitting in his paddock dreaming of showing at WEF, winning coolers, and besting his peers in the hack. If you like riding him and the bills are fine, go ahead and hang onto him to enjoy yourself!

    However, I will say that if selling him would make a material impact on your financial situation, I might consider it. If he's truly a competitive 3'6 derby horse, you could be looking at breaking the six figure mark. How impactful that is for you will depend on your personal situation. I sold a very nice 1.30m jumper a few years back, and while I definitely have moments where I wished I'd kept him, the money from selling him was the downpayment on a house.

    Leave a comment:


  • kkgeorgio
    replied
    Others have mentioned, but maybe consider a partial lease. There are tons of adult amateurs out there (myself included) who would love the opportunity to ride a nice horse, without paying an arm and a leg. I think it would be reasonable for you to charge $200-$400 a month for 2-3 rides a week. Then your horse gets more work, and you can offset some of your costs. If it is someone who wants to occasionally show-maybe that would be an opportunity where you split show fees and both do a few classes.

    Even if there isn't someone looking for a lease at your current stable, try posting online facebook groups or other places. I'm living somewhere for work, where I'm not connected to any specific barn and was willing to go wherever I found a good lease situation. I know there are others out there like myself!

    Leave a comment:


  • equinelibrium
    replied
    OP, I don't have any advice but I can definitely empathize! I'm in a similar situation with my mare. She's not as fancy as yours, but she's now worth considerably more than I paid for her originally. She's so easy and fun that I'm not in a huge rush to sell her but I wouldn't be opposed to it in the future. I know the longer I keep her the more opportunities there are for her to lose value, but I'm having such a good time with her that I don't really mind. And of course the longer I have her the more attached I'll become!

    For me, I came up with a number in my head that I would be willing to part with her. That way if someone asks me how much I would want I have an answer. It's an unrealistic price for her at this point, so I don't have to worry about someone offering it, but it makes me feel better since I'd be silly to turn down that kind of money

    Either way it's important to remember that your horse does not care at all about his "lost potential" with you, which it sounds like you know, but I'll say it anyway for repetition's sake. It sounds like he has a wonderful life with you!

    Leave a comment:


  • winter
    replied
    I once bred a fancy expensive horse. I sold her in her first year of showing, out of the baby green ring for quite a bit of money (for me anyhow). Deciding to sell was very difficult. When talking to a friend about it, she advised I keep the horse because I could never afford to buy one that fancy. She was right, I could not ( and still could not) afford to spend that kind of money on a horse, but I was also in a position at the time where I was feeling the squeeze from show bills and had a few other horses at home. I also knew I wouldn't be able to develop her myself initially, so I needed a pros help with her for a while, and that would have cost me more money. At the time, she wasn't the right horse for me to ride as my full time horse, and that was what made the final decision for me to sell. I told myself I just didn't need one that nice.

    So in the end I did sell the horse but I cried for a week and still think about her. She went on to be a very good junior hunter. She was easily a good 3'6" horse that won the hack. If I had developed her further, maybe I could have sold for twice as much or had an amazing winning horse for myself, but we also could have gone nowhere if I kept her, as it goes with horses. I was a in a different position than you though, with too many horses and one that I needed help with. I always lean towards selling if they have any value because I think about them getting hurt and then not being worth anything, but I must be a pessimist that way and it means that I have sold all my horses as soon as they show any promise....

    Leave a comment:


  • adelmo95
    replied
    Thank you all for the very thoughtful responses, they have helped put things into perspective. I had really been struggling with it because I had grown up always buying training and reselling, so it feels weird to be keeping the nicest horse I have ever owned when I am at a point in my life where I am not planning on doing much showing.

    I think the other thing I have realized even just asking the question on here is that I am not at a point where I am ready to actively try to market and sell him. I think I will just continue enjoying the fact that I have a lovely horse to ride. Realistically he is pretty content with his current lifestyle so I shouldn't be worried about the fact that I don't have him reaching his full potential.

    If anyone ever offers a lot for him I will cross that bridge when I get there, but the odds of that happening are slim due to us not being out on the show circuit at the moment.

    Thanks again for all of the advice as it really did help put things into perspective.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lyssabd
    replied
    As someone who bought a resale project that I still own seven years later, I really feel your struggle. My horse doesn't sound as quality as yours (he's WONDERFUL in his own right, but a draftcross that is nicer than he should be but not fancy) but he's turned out far nicer than I ever expected. I bought him for a song and planned to sell as a lesson/husband type horse to make a quick buck on and here we are, a couple of moves and many years later.

    I'm so glad I kept him. He could have done so much more with someone with a larger budget for training and showing, but he's happiest in the field and working for me when I can get out to ride. If you have a horse that you can jump on bareback and play and turn around and show the next weekend, hold onto him. He's young - if your career changes even in five years, he'll still be in his prime and able to do the "more" you know he's capable of. Horses don't know what they're missing out on, and you may never end up with such a nice horse as you have. You already own him - what will it cost you to get a horse like him in a couple of years when you're ready?

    Just one person's perspective, but you need to figure out what is right for you!

    Leave a comment:


  • Synthesis
    replied
    OP, I'm having some of the same mental struggles as my OTTB goes to a hunter show this weekend. He's gorgeous, sweet and looks/moves/jumps like a younger Private Practice. Just a born hunter, and babysitter who does everything he can to keep me in place as I've ridden through injuries this year.

    I thought I'd long left the hunter ring behind for eventing. The money would be nice too, ticks all the boxes. Then again he's just SO nice and I deserve nice horses too.

    So, I really really get it.

    Leave a comment:


  • GatesRiverFarm
    replied
    Originally posted by Mac123 View Post
    Someone once told me that the value in flipping a coin wasn't in which side of the coin lands face up but in discovering which side you're hoping will land face up as it's flying through the air.

    I think the same applies here. I could make a strong case for or against any of these 3 options; it truly sounds like this is a personal decision.

    Which advice do you find yourself hoping you'll get when you check in on this thread? That should help guide you in the direction you really want but are needing some validation from others before pursuing.

    I will say that horses don't know how fancy they are and are by and large content being horses. They don't dream of being a top derby horse. Where that comes in to place is what us humans need them to be, either for our own personal use or for monetary reasons. He sounds like he'd be a fancy show horse - and I bet he would prefer his life with you now over traveling 75% of the time living in a 10x10 at shows. So I think the one thing I'd take out of the equation is the whole "But it's a waste for him to not show." He doesn't care. If YOU want to show or if you want/need the significant funds from selling him as a show horse, then those are valid reasons to pursue different paths. But honestly...he's a horse. He probably loves his life now as much or more than if he were a fancy show horse.
    This gal here posted just as I was posting my response....I can't LOVE this enough....she is SPOT on.!

    Leave a comment:


  • GatesRiverFarm
    replied
    I'm just going to throw my 2 cents into the pot here....for what its worth....and its simply my humble opinion. Personally, if money is not an object for you, I would keep him. For some reason within this ever-so-critical community we all operate in, there seems to be this opinion floating around out there that if you have a horse who is "able" to be showing and "moving up" the ranks and you AREN'T doing that, than you don't "deserve" him, which I think is pure nonsense.

    I'll speak from my own personal experience. I have been a lifelong rider (30+ years) and as a child and junior rider, was never able to afford my own horse. Fast forward to now, I have worked extremely hard in my career and am lucky enough to have recently found myself in a position where I was able to afford to buy a VERY nice 10 year old mare with an 35 page long show record at some of the biggest shows up and down the east coast. Long story short, her owners were selling her due to their own discipline change, and the timing was just right for me to purchase her.

    I "only" have time to ride her 4-5x/week including one lesson, and we "only" usually show 2 rated shows per year in the very low 2-2'6" hunters. I ask this in the rhetorical sense, but does this somehow make me unworthy of having her....or her "unhappy" with me as her owner? Heck NO! In fact, I have had a number of people at our say they've never seen a horse who was happier or more content.

    The way I look at it, I "could" sell her for a large sum to another show home where she'd probably be jumped into the ground - in fact, I've had some offers on her that I've ignored - OR, I can keep her, and make no apologies about the fact that I have an incredible horse that I've worked very hard for and that makes me happy, and also feel good about providing her a home that will keep her sound and fit (hopefully) for many years to come.

    In summary, no horse is a "waste" when he is owned by someone who loves and cares for him as you clearly do with yours - regardless of what level they are jumping or showing at. If I were you'd I'd keep and enjoy him for the rest of his days. Best of luck to you in your decision!

    Leave a comment:


  • Mac123
    replied
    Someone once told me that the value in flipping a coin wasn't in which side of the coin lands face up but in discovering which side you're hoping will land face up as it's flying through the air.

    I think the same applies here. I could make a strong case for or against any of these 3 options; it truly sounds like this is a personal decision.

    Which advice do you find yourself hoping you'll get when you check in on this thread? That should help guide you in the direction you really want but are needing some validation from others before pursuing.

    I will say that horses don't know how fancy they are and are by and large content being horses. They don't dream of being a top derby horse. Where that comes in to place is what us humans need them to be, either for our own personal use or for monetary reasons. He sounds like he'd be a fancy show horse - and I bet he would prefer his life with you now over traveling 75% of the time living in a 10x10 at shows. So I think the one thing I'd take out of the equation is the whole "But it's a waste for him to not show." He doesn't care. If YOU want to show or if you want/need the significant funds from selling him as a show horse, then those are valid reasons to pursue different paths. But honestly...he's a horse. He probably loves his life now as much or more than if he were a fancy show horse.

    Leave a comment:


  • WildLittleWren
    replied
    Being a very logical person myself, unless the horse was absolutely my "heart horse" and I couldn't imagine life without it, I would sell and pay my mortgage down if I had a mortgage. Luckily, I don't have that problem as both of my horses were $125 mustangs whom I would probably have to pay someone to take, even though they are lovely horses and I adore both of them. My mare I probably wouldn't sell for any amount of money, but that is because I have a strong emotional attachment to her. Both of them are lifers.

    It's a very personal decision. Can you imagine yourself not having him in your life? Would life go on? Would you be happy with your decision? I think those, and your financial picture (which only you know), are the most important questions. Would selling him give you a good boost ahead in your finances? Do you enjoy bringing horses along, so that a project horse would keep you content? All personal questions, that only you can answer. Good luck with your decision!

    Leave a comment:


  • erinmeri
    replied
    I think this is a very personal decision. If you aren’t sure about showing, a lease could be a great compromise. If your horse is fancy or competitive enough to land in a good barn (even your own?) it could be a great solution.

    I sold all of my horses from back when I was a junior/college kid showing (save my OG, who I retired more because he had no value for resale... but am very glad I did). Knowing myself now, I would be inclined to keep or lease if I could - but only because I don’t know that I could live with not knowing my horses’ fates and because I worry about the fates of the ones I lost track of.

    I have a friend whose nice AA horses are commanding a pretty penny and are paying for their keep and more on lease. She is keeping them then retiring after their lease lives are over. That said, that situation isn’t necessarily common, and a lot could go wrong (not necessarily through anybody’s fault). I would think that taking that route would require a contingency plan and potentially deep pockets. BUT, if your horse has a record and/or the ability to pack around at the AA shows, you might be able to do a lease that makes financial sense and represents a compromise on your keep vs sell options.

    Good Luck!

    Leave a comment:


  • IndysMom
    replied
    Mine was never worth five figures, but when asked if I’d sell him my reply was “I spent all this time and effort training him for me not someone else”! Enjoy what you’ve made and keep him safe.

    Leave a comment:


  • Feliz
    replied
    When this has come up I have asked myself how I would feel if I didn’t sell and the horse had a major injury next week and was essentially a pasture puff. Would I be bitter, or would I be somewhat regretful but still happy to have the horse?

    Personally I wouldn’t sell. He sounds like a phenomenal horse. Your life might be different in 2-5yrs and you might want to do lots of showing then - and if you don't, does it matter?

    I’ve had a few offers over the years for mine and I have no regrets not selling him – even after he strained a suspensory and was questionable about jumping again. He’s just special to me and I enjoy him every day.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jo
    replied
    Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
    When I had one of those gems I received a good offer - my veterinarian friend said, "Put dollar signs, in your eyes, put dollar signs in your eyes." They can get hurt so easily. So I did, and paid off our mortgage even though it broke my heart, family came first.

    The I learned that there is more than one pebble on the beach - I have bred three more and all are special
    I was coming here to say this. It would be very hard for me to turn down $50k plus for something that could be only worth emotional value tomorrow.

    Luckily for me, no one is knocking down my door for my retired OTTB with some loose screws or my middle aged with maintenance needed WB mare. LOL!

    Leave a comment:


  • Foxtrot's
    replied
    When I had one of those gems I received a good offer - my veterinarian friend said, "Put dollar signs, in your eyes, put dollar signs in your eyes." They can get hurt so easily. So I did, and paid off our mortgage even though it broke my heart, family came first.

    The I learned that there is more than one pebble on the beach - I have bred three more and all are special

    Leave a comment:


  • candyappy
    replied
    Talented horses that sit for a year or are not shown can be a red flag for many. If he is indeed as nice as you say then advertise him and see if you get any interest.

    I personally wouldn't let a horse with that value or potential out of my handling / control unless I sold him. I know every day is an opportunity to become unsound,( injured, ruined, etc..) but I would rather it happened on my watch and not in the hands of an off site lease.

    Keep and enjoy what you have or sell.

    Leave a comment:


  • mpsbarnmanager
    replied
    If you enjoy him, keep him. It would take you another 7 years of a lot of work to replace him, assuming the new one was a similar match both personality wise and physical ability.

    Leave a comment:

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